Description: New England folklorist John Horrigan presents a slide show about the “Great Fires of the American Revolution”. Horrigan maintains that the burning of several cities and towns ignited the American Revolution and would eventually spark the Continental Army on to victory. As the Minutemen and Colonial Militia were assembling on Punkatasset Hill, they saw smoke emanating from their unprotected village of Concord, Massachusetts. The men were convinced that the British raiding party was burning down their homes. This misinterpretation of a smoke pall would be converted into a rallying call to action by Adjutant Joseph Hosmer as he cried "Will you let them burn the town down?” His encouragement helped impassion the Colonials in their route of the British at the Battle of Old North Bridge. John will discuss several other Revolutionary War conflagrations as well, including the burnings of Charlestown, Falmouth, Norfolk, New London, New York and Charleston.
The British burned several buildings in Lexington on April 19th, 1775.
After burning some structures in Lexington, these soldiers were criticized in British newspapers and called "wild Irish asses".
At the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17th, 1775 the British ships fired 'carcasses' (flaming hot shot) into Charlestown and set it ablaze.
In October of 1775, the British bombarded Falmouth, Maine and burned it to the ground.
New York went up in flames in 1776. Many believe that it was arson.
Lord Tryon burned Danbury and Fairfield, Connecticut in 1777.
Charleston, South Carolina suffered two major fires in 1778 and 1779.
On May 19th, 1780, an eery and mysterious 'dark day' enveloped New England. It was caused by a smoke pall from a great forest fire in southern Ontario, Canada.
Turncoat Benedict Arnold burned the port of New London in 1781.
Recorded on July 15th, 2008 in New London, Connecticut. John interviews New London Town Historian Sally Ryan about the burning of New London during the Revolutionary War on September 6th, 1781 by turncoat Benedict Arnold. This the most comprehensive recording of the New London Fire. Running Time is 52 minutes. Size is 47 MB.